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MaryLou Driedger, the author of the adventure story Lost on the Prairie, has had a few adventures of her own. Her curiosity and love of learning have taken her to some fifty destinations across the globe. MaryLou has taught in three different countries and is a former Manitoba Teacher of the Year. She has been employed as a Winnipeg Art Gallery educator since 2012.
MaryLou’s writing adventures include nearly four decades as a columnist for the Manitoba newspaper The Carillon. She was also a Winnipeg Free Press columnist for three years. Hundreds of her freelance pieces have been published in magazines, newspapers, anthologies, books, journals, institutional histories, meditation guides and curriculums and she has written the script and lyrics for a musical. You can find dozens of her stories on various travel websites.
Her novel Lost on the Prairie, inspired by a true event in her grandfather’s life was published in 2021 and spent fourteen weeks on the McNally Robinson bestseller list. It was nominated for a Manitoba Young Readers' Choice award and the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book by a Manitoba author.
MaryLou's latest novel Sixties Girl will be released in April of 2023.
Getting to Know You
I honestly don’t remember hiding any books. I read voraciously as a kid and remember reading adult novels like Gone With The Wind and my parents’ collection of Reader Digest Condensed Books before I was even a teenager. We had a family cottage with my Dad’s extended family and sometimes my aunts would leave novels with pretty mature themes on the shelves. I don’t think my parents knew what they were about but they never stopped me from reading them. I think it’s because I read anything and everything from about the time I was about five that I became a writer.
People are afraid of things they don’t understand.
- from The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
The Witch of Blackbird Pond is my favourite book. I have re-read it every year since I was about eight years old.
When I am working on a writing project I let my desk get super messy, but when I’m done I like to have it really tidy. I was a teacher for 35 years and I never went home at night with a messy desk. I hated coming to work in the morning to a messy desk.
That something bad will happen to my children or grandchildren or that I will end up getting dementia like my Dad.
In 1990 our family visited Walden Pond near Boston where the famous author Henry David Thoreau lived and you could write your wish on one of the rocks from this huge pile of rocks on the spot where Thoreau’s home once stood. After you had written down your wish you put your rock back and we were told the rain would wash your wish into the pond and it would eventually come true. I wished that I would publish three books. My first book was Lost on the Prairie and my second book Sixties Girl comes out in spring. One more book to go and I will have fulfilled my secret ambition.
Winnipeg is located in Treaty One territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. THIN AIR, the annual celebration produced by the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, strives to honour the First People’s rich tradition of sharing stories as the ground for building genuine community and restoring right relations.